Well my se-a1000's came in a day early. Apparently there is an Amazon distro center very close and they had them in stock. Now I'm just waiting for my Astro Mixamp to arrive to complete the set up. I did give them a test listen last night and have a few thoughts. I'm a novice with regards to this kind of gear to read my opinion with that in mind.
I like the design, it breaks the mold of typical over head bands. They look a little more modern to my eye, some will like it. The build quality seems very good from jack with break preventing spring, to the braided cord to the headphone cups. All the materials and assembly add up to a nice set of cans. I do wish the silver ring on the outside of the cups was aluminum and not painted plastic, that's a nit pic though. The earcups don't have a leather or velvet covering, it is more of a woven material. It would appear to be well made and should last a long time and wear well. I'll get back to you on long term comfort as I didn't wear it more than an hour last night. Again user preference on whether you will like the earcup material. During that time they were very comfortable though. My head is on the large end and very round in shape. Even so the 1000's did not clamp too tight but I never felt like they would fall off either. I can see where someone with a smaller or narrower head should might feel like these are too loose. I have no need for the headband mod at this time. I also wear glasses when I'm at home(contacts otherwise) and these did not bother my glasses at all. I wear semi of full frameless with thin titanium earpieces. The cord is LOOONNNG on these. One of the first things I did was braid it to shorten the length. Even so I have more than enough to reach my chair in my gaming set up.
As far as sound quality I think these sound fantastic. Especially considering it's very easy to be super cheap and buy $20-$30 and Wal-Mart or Target when these are going for $40 on TigerDirect and $55 on Amazon. I just grabbed a few CD's I had laying around and played them through my Sony HT. While my selection may not be ideal material it's what I had and I will try out more music later.
Def Leppard Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection. This has a lot of songs from the pre-Mutt Lange era. So lot of really good guitar work from Steve Clark.
Brave Heart SoundTrack. James Horner composed this so it brings in a variety of great instrumental elements. From Bagpipes to oboes and clarinets and subtle timpani work.
Star Wars The Phantom Menace. Hey it's John Williams, the man is a legend.
Both these CD's sounded really good over the 1000's. I picked up things I haven't, or never heard in songs from both albums. The highs of Clark's guitar work were very clear without being harsh. The bass Leppard used in their earlier work wasn't very thumping but more loose and while it didn't have a lot of punch it was well defined. The snare drums sounded great as well with wonderful definition and clarity. These aren't the best cans for bass heavy music as you will lose that punch but classic rock and anything from the 50's or 60's will sounds good.
The music from Braveheart is something I've always liked. I have a soft spot for good bagpipe work and there is a lot of that on this album. This is a tough one to listen too in the car or in a noisy environment as there are a lot of quiet moments with only one or two instruments bridging parts of songs. I could here the vibration of the bagpipes like never before as well as the windwood instruments providing background . It was very easy to hear all the elements James Horner composed into them instead of hearing just silence as you might in other situations.
The Star Wars soundtrack was simply amazing when heard through these. There is so much going on in many of these songs it's hard to isolate one area of excellence. This is where the 1000's shine and I look forward to more Classical and Jazz on these.
I played a little Battlefield 3 last night as well. I used the Tritton AX720 amp with an adapter cable. The soundstage and definition were terrific. Again, a little low on the bass but who needs it with clarity like this. The positional audio was good but the Tritton amp was never the best at this so I will wait to reserve final judgement until the Astro arrives. Overall these sounds like good gaming cans and I will try out COD: BLOPS 2, COD: BLOPS and COD: MW2 just for reference tonight.
Overall these things are the best $55 I've spent in a while. For the price I paid these are definitely over achievers and I don't feel like I'm missing by not having the ath-ad700's. These will be with me for a long time to come.